…..warns against frivolous adjournments, technicalities
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – President of the Court of Appeal, PCA, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, on Wednesday, disclosed that over 250 Judges handling election petition cases across the federation, have been placed on watchlist.
The PCA, said the judges would be “closely monitored”, vowing that any of them found wanting in the discharge of his or her duties, would be seriously dealt with.
She warned all the election tribunal judges not to grant frivolous adjournments or allow undue technicalities capable of causing delay in the dispensation of petitions brought before them.
Justice Bulkachuwa gave the admonition while flagging-off an induction program that was organised for justices of the Court of Appeal that will serve as Chairmen and members of election petition tribunals.
She said: “The Judiciary has been a major role player in the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria by adjudicating in all cases that arise from pre-election as well as post-election activities.
“By the end of this week, we will all be in our various states for the tribunals and the appeals that will follow suit by the aggrieved parties.
“I need not remind you that the assignment ahead of you is enormous and due diligence and professionalism is expected from each and every one of you.
“Always be law abiding and do not allow yourselves to be stirred by emotions, fear or sentiments. You are expected to be in charge of your courts.
“The Judiciary is in the lime light and as Judicial officers we should discharge the responsibilities reposed on us both individually and collectively by dispensing justice in accordance with the law without fear or favour, affection or ilI-will within the dictates of our conscience and oath of office.
“Let me remind you that in an Election Petition Tribunal time is of the essence, I therefore urge you to desist from granting frivolous adjournments and also discourage the practice of employing undue technicalities or any act capable of causing delay in the dispensation of petitions before you.
“Like I have said before, each and every one of you will be closely monitored by my office and I will not hesitate to descend on any Judge found wanting in the discharge of his or her duties.
“By the end of this induction training, you will all be abreast with what is expected of you and I am sure by the time you resume your duty posts you will be ready to carry out the task assiduously.
“Feel free to interact with your colleagues in areas that are unclear to you especially those of you that are coming to tribunals for the first time. Forums like these are meant for discussions and exchange of ideas so that by the end of the day we would have tapped from each other’s knowledge and experience, and we will be wiser and better equipped to meet the tasks ahead of us”.